Should I get married young?
Getting married is a big decision – here’s what Christians should keep in mind when considering this commitment at an early age.
Compared to much of the world, Christians tend to get married at a young age. If you’ve grown up in church you’ll probably find that at least a few of your friends are starting to get engaged by the time you turn 20.
I was one of those people. My now-husband proposed to me when I was 20 and he was 21. We got married less than a year later, one month before I turned 22.
That’s three years ago now! And since we’ve been married, I’ve found that many people a few years younger than me want to chat about why we chose to tie the knot at such an early age. Christians who are in committed relationships want encouragement and guidance before taking the leap.
So here is some advice from someone who did get married young – maybe it will help you make a wise decision!
The benefits of marrying young
There are many benefits of choosing to get married at a young age. But let’s get one of the big ones out of the way first: sex.
In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul writes, “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” He makes a good point: if you’re struggling to stay sexually pure with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you could just keep trying to resist temptation, or if you’re the right age and both Christians, you could get married! It’s a legitimate choice, and sometimes the best one.
Of course, getting married just for the sake of sex isn’t a great idea. But it is a great idea to follow God’s design for sexuality – enjoying that part of your relationship in the safe covenant of marriage.
But it’s not all about sex. Marrying young comes with some other wonderful benefits – benefits that actually end up feeling far more important than sex as the years wear on!
Marrying young means committing to growing up together. Most studies show that we don’t reach full maturity until our mid-20s, which is often cited as a reason not to marry early. But I think that actually, choosing to make this commitment while still young brings you together at a pivotal point in your life and allows you to build a foundation together.
Rather than growing separate lives that you and your spouse then need to merge together, you essentially start adult life by each other’s side and figure it out together. It’s not always easy, but I have found it to be a beautiful experience that has enabled me and my husband to be a truly united team.
One final major benefit of marrying young? You’ve got plenty of time before you have to worry about declining fertility! My husband and I don’t have kids yet, and we’ve enjoyed exploring different careers, travelling overseas and throwing ourselves into ministry together at church. It’s been a fun few years and we’re excited to see how God continues to use our marriage pre-kids for His glory.
The challenges of marrying young
Ok, so I’ve probably made marrying young sound like it’s all sunshine and roses – but it’s not. There are several unique challenges you face if you choose to make this commitment when you’re still so young.
Firstly, that thing I said about maturity before? Yep, you get the downsides of that. If you marry young, you’re still working out how to “adult’ and engage with the world independent of your parents. It’s not always easy to do that and learn how to be married all at the same time!
Plus, if you move straight from your parents’ home or college accommodation to living with your spouse, you’ll have to learn how to do all that living independently entails with your spouse! I remember the first load of laundry I did after getting married, I accidentally shrank most of my husband’s t-shirts because I didn’t really know what I was doing!
Finally, while we have several friends who also married young, my husband and I are still definitely in the minority amongst our peers. Most are still single, and live in a way that reflects their singleness! They’re freer with their money and time, and they make decisions without needing to consider another person. Sometimes it can be hard to relate, because my life is so different now. It has been isolating and lonely at points to be in such a different life stage – although it seems that many of our friends are starting to catch up!
Are you ready?
Marriage is a beautiful gift from God, and it’s not surprising that so many people want to get married as soon as they can! But if that’s what you choose to do, make sure you’re making the decision wisely, aware of all the challenges ahead.
If you do choose to marry, then may God bless you both! After three years, I can truly say marrying my husband was the second-best decision I’ve ever made – it’s only beaten by my choice to follow Jesus.